Mountain West states are reporting shortages of mental health care professionals, such as psychiatrists and counselors, due to increased demand for services. federal data indicates that more than 70% of Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada residents live in designated mental health deficit areas. The federal government estimates that the country needs thousands of mental health providers just to fill the current coverage gap.
Nationally, percentage of adults receiving mental health care Increase from 2019 to 2021reflecting an increasing number of cases anxiety, depression When substance abuse during a pandemic.
Patrick O’Neill, a therapist and owner of a counseling service in Idaho Falls, Idaho, said many mental health providers in his area are booked months in advance.
“We can’t treat clients who need treatment,” O’Neill said. “At the same time, they are getting worse while waiting for that treatment to arrive.”
State officials are now looking for ways to attract more providers to Mountain West.In New Mexico, legislators want Add Education and Fundraising Opportunities To attract more counselors to the state.colorado allocated $500 million Mental Health in Modern Times and School Districts in Idaho We employ independent licensed clinicians to take up the slack.
Another idea to increase the pool of therapists in the area is for more states to participate counseling compactCurrently, mental health professionals licensed in one state often struggle to gain the ability to practice in other states. Because supervision, testing, and cost requirements vary depending on where you live. This is a difficult situation for counselors like O’Neill in eastern Idaho, where rural residents from Wyoming, Montana, and Utah come for specific care and amenities.
“So people are coming to this part of Idaho to seek mental health services as well,” he said. “But at the same time, if I’m not licensed in that state or they live in another state, I can’t treat them.”
This is also true in other regions where state lines cut large communities, such as Lake Tahoe, the Four Corners region, the Boise region, and the northern front ranges of Colorado and Wyoming. It also affects those seeking telemedicine. increasingly popular.
Counseling Compacts that have not yet entered into force allow a person with a license in one Compact State to practice in another Compact State. Colorado and Utah are already part of the group, invoice If it passes the Wyoming legislature, it will join as the third state in Mountain West.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or is struggling emotionally, 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
This article was written by Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio, Idaho, KUNR, Nevada, Rocky Mountain West O’Connor Center, Montana, KUNC, Colorado, and KUNM, New Mexico, for regional coverage. I have support from the agency. The Mountain West News Bureau is partially funded by the Public Broadcasting Corporation.
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